For the sixth consecutive year, the Arbor Day Foundation has named the University of Louisville a Tree Campus USA, a status awarded to colleges and universities that invest in and practice good management of campus trees.

“It’s a team effort annually for our campus to achieve such a designation,” said Greg Schetler, Belknap Campus grounds superintendent, who is responsible for day-to-day management of UofL’s urban tree canopy. “We really take pride in planting these trees. What sets us apart is we really focus on putting the right plant in the right place.”

The city of Louisville has been identified in studies as being one of the most extreme “urban heat islands,” areas where temperatures are significantly higher than the surrounding countryside.

This spring, UofL is doing its part to help solve this problem by planting 59 new shade trees in and around parking lots to cool the asphalt.

The Tree Campus USA award is based on care and maintenance of trees. The university first developed a care plan in 2010 for more than 2,500 trees on its 309-acre Belknap Campus.

Trees on Belknap campus represent more than 130 species, including many native to our region. Among them are dogwoods, tulip poplars (the Kentucky state tree), oaks, persimmons, magnolias and elms, including a rare American Elm, a species devastated by Dutch Elm disease in the last century.

The university has created a Tree Tour popular with Belknap campus visitors, staff, faculty and students.


For more information, contact Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives and chair of the Campus Tree Advisory Committee, 502-852-8575.

Janet Cappiello covers student success for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since 2014.